KUWAIT HAILS SQUASH LEGENDS AT GALA DINNER

The Kuwait Men's World Open 2009 Official Championship Gala Dinner will be held on Friday 6th November at the Al Hashemi II, listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the largest wooden dhow ever built. The Al Hashemi II, with its 1,200 sqm Al Hashemi Grand combining gilded wood and state-of-the-art AV technology, is now a prime landmark for visitors to the country and represents a spectacular venue which reflects Kuwait's unique history.
 
In addition to the sport's greatest players from the past, the Kuwait Men's World Open 2009 Higher Organising Committee will also recognise and honour the achievements of some of the players currently competing on the international circuit.
 
Jahangir Khan, Geoff Hunt, Susan Devoy and Sarah Fitz-Gerald are among the Squash Legends who will attend the championships and prestigious Gala Dinner, which will be presented by Robert Edwards, the Voice of Squash.
 
Jahangir Khan, widely acknowledged to be the greatest player in the history of the sport, burst onto the international scene as a 15-year-old in 1979 when he became the youngest-ever winner of the World Amateur Individual Championship.  In November 1981, he became the youngest World Open champion of all-time at 17 years of age - beating Australian favourite Geoff Hunt in the final - and went on to establish a remarkable 555-match unbeaten run over five and a half years, from April 81 until Nov 86, winning six World Opens and a record ten British Open titles.
 
A former Chairman of the Professional Squash Association, Jahangir retired from the sport in 1993 after helping Pakistan to win the World Team Championship in his home town Karachi.  First elected Vice-President of the World Squash Federation in November 1998, Jahangir was President of the WSF from 2002–2008.  One of the greatest sportsmen Pakistan has ever produced, Jahangir was nominated as 'Sportsman of the Millennium' by the Government of Pakistan.
 
Born in March 1947 in Melbourne, Geoff Hunt dominated the men's game for most of the 1970s, winning the first four World Open titles, between 1976 and 1980, and a then record eight British Open trophies, from 1969 to 1981.  The formidable Australian, who topped the world rankings for five years until December 1980, went on to serve as Head Squash Coach at the Australian Institute of Sport from 1985-2003, where he helped develop a new generation of Australian squash stars.
 
Susan Devoy, the most successful squash player to hail from New Zealand, dominated the women's game in the late 1980s and early 1990s.  Born in Rotorua in January 1964, Devoy won four World Open titles, between 1985 and 1992, and became British Open champion eight times from 1984 to 1992.  She topped the world rankings for a record 105 months between April 84 and February 93, and in 1998 was appointed a Dame Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit, becoming the youngest New Zealander since Sir Edmund Hillary to receive a knighthood.
 
A dominant force in women's squash from the mid nineties through to the new millennium, Sarah Fitz-Gerald became World Junior Champion in 1987.  After winning her maiden World Open title in 1996, she went on become the first to claim the title for a fifth time in 2002.  Born in Melbourne, Australia, in 1968, Sarah was world No1 for 40 months, from November 1996 to February 2003, and retired from the Women’s World Tour in February 2003 unbeaten over the previous 18 months.  In 2002, after winning the Gold Medal at the Commonwealth Games in England, Sarah was voted 'Australian Female Athlete of the Year'.  In January 2004, Sarah was awarded the Member of the Order of Australia (AM).
 
The Kuwait Men’s World Open 2009, which boasts a prize-fund of US$277,500, the largest ever offered by any World Tour event, is being held in the memory of His Highness Sheikh Saad Abdullah Al-Sabah The Patriarch Amir, in whose name the trophy shall be presented, and will include a spectacular Opening and Closing Ceremony.
 
For further information, visit the Kuwait Men’s World Open 2009 Official Website www.kuwaitworldopen2009.com

Hosts of the Kuwait Men’s World Open 2009, the premier event on the Professional Squash Association (PSA) World Tour which will be held in Kuwait from 1-7 November, will honour the achievements of some of the sport's greatest players of all-time at an Official Championship Gala Dinner.